Showing: 1 - 10 of 18 RESULTS

Is it safe to go trick-or-treating this year amid COVID-19?

CLOSE

If your family is skipping on trick-or-treating, here are 5 alternative ideas for Halloween.

USA TODAY

Ventura County public health officials to follow state guidelines, urge public to consider safer alternatives at home

As families begin to prepare for Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos celebrations, the state is strongly suggesting they not trick-or-treat or attend parties, but celebrate with their own households at home or virtually.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s Health and Human Services secretary, said he wants to see households get creative this holiday season and challenged families to find alternative ways to celebrate that don’t include hosting parties, gatherings or trick-or-treating, all of which could contribute to the spread of coronavirus.

“Some traditional Halloween celebrations such as parties and door-to-door trick-or-treating pose a high risk of spreading COVID-19 and are strongly discouraged,” Ghaly said during Tuesday’s press conference. “If a positive case is discovered, it could be very challenging to conduct appropriate contact tracing.”

Read More: Ventura County updates its trick-or-treating rules for Halloween amid COVID-19 pandemic

Ventura County Public Health Department officials initially announced in September trick-or-treating would not be allowed in the county, a day later amending that stance by issuing not mandates but recommendations against trick-or-treating.

On Tuesday, Public Health Director Rigoberto Vargas said the county will follow the state guidelines of strongly discouraging the traditional activities and urging people to consider safer alternatives at home.

“Given the times and the fact that COVID is transmitted in groupings and gatherings, it’s really the safest way to go,” Vargas said.

Ghaly offered suggestions for alternative ways to celebrate Halloween:

  • Create a haunted house or candy hunt at home within a single household
  • Have a scary movie night with those in your household
  • Carve pumpkins or paint faces at home
  • Decorate your home or yard
  • Design COVID-19 face masks that match your costume
  • Share Halloween treats and candy with those in your household
  • Enjoy a Halloween-themed dinner outdoors with your household and up to two other households while social distancing 
  • Have an online costume contest or pumpkin carving contest
  • Visit an outdoor Halloween-themed art installation at an outdoor museum
  • Tour Halloween displays from the safety of your car
  • Go to a drive-in scary movie

Ghaly also offered suggestions for how to safely celebrate Dia De Los Muertos:

  • Consider creating altars in a front window or outside so others can view from a distance
  • Create a virtual altar space to honor lost loved ones and share it with others
  • Visit a cemetery only with those in your household, wear masks and physically distance from others who may be at the cemetery

California already eased its coronavirus restrictions this week to allow up to three households to socialize outdoors, an expansion of rules aimed at people tempted to have even larger gatherings around Halloween, Thanksgiving and end-of-year holidays, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

Ghaly said Tuesday this doesn’t mean the state is endorsing or encouraging small gatherings — he’d rather see no

Vaccine development process is safe, claims of the contrary are baseless

All of our lives have been drastically impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — and we know all of us are eager to return to the way things were before the pandemic began. However, that simply won’t be possible without a safe, effective vaccine. Fortunately, due to the strength of American innovation and unprecedented public-private partnerships, a COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon. We, as the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and a physician on the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, have been closely following our nation’s progress — and we are confident that we will have a safe, effective vaccine soon.

On July 21, 2020, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing on vaccine development. The subcommittee heard from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, and Pfizer. All five companies are working on various vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19 and have received federal funding. Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson are all now conducting “phase 3” clinical trials for their COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which is the last stage of testing prior to regulatory approval. AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson both recently paused their studies to examine an illness in one of the participants. This is standard protocol, and should give us even more confidence that vaccine companies are following standard safety procedures in their trials — not rushing through the process.

Currently, the Trump administration is working with many pharmaceutical companies to assist in two ways: To advance research and development and to ensure that when a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for safety and efficacy, it is ready to be shipped and distributed across the United States. 

Through “Operation Warp Speed” and the “Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV)” partnership, the federal government is doing everything it can to ensure that the private companies developing a vaccine have the resources they need. This assistance is also helping companies to begin establishing manufacturing capability and to initiate the purchasing of necessary raw materials including glass vials for packaging and needles and syringes for the administration of the vaccines. These programs are also facilitating the condensing of the regulatory timeline. For example, the government is currently providing financial support to a number of companies to allow for simultaneous development and production of a vaccine before it receives final approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Usually, companies will not begin to invest in producing a vaccine or treatment until it has first completed testing and received regulatory approval. We need to ensure that any COVID-19 vaccine is available as soon as it receives the final approval from the FDA.

All five companies assured the subcommittee that any vaccine they produce will meet all safety standards set by the FDA. They also vowed to be transparent about the testing and development process so there are no questions about safety or efficacy.

Many who are working closely on vaccine development are cautiously optimistic that we will

Lead-in or No, Switch to Long-Acting Monthly ART Is Safe

Individuals who have virologic suppression of HIV with daily oral dolutegravir/abacavir/lamivudine (DTG/ABC/3TC) can be switched safely with or without an oral lead-in phase to monthly injectable cabotegravir plus rilpirivine (CAB/RPV) with comparable efficacy and safety, new data suggest.

Among 232 patients who had virologic suppression (HIV-1 RNA less than 50 copies/mL) following 100 weeks of therapy with DTG/ABC/3TC, the safety and tolerability of the long-acting CAB/RPV formulation was similar whether patients were immediately switched to it or transitioned over 1 month with an oral lead-in phase, reported Ronald D’Amico, MD, from ViiV Healthcare, and colleagues during the annual HIV Glasgow drug therapy meeting, which was held virtually this year because of the pandemic.

Virologic suppression rates 24 weeks after the switch were 99.1% for patients switched directly to the long-acting CAB/RPV and 93.4% for patients who had an oral lead-in; virologic data at this time point was not available for 7 patients (5.8%) in the oral lead-in arm vs 0% of patients in the direct-treatment group.

The investigators reported results of the extension phase of the FLAIR trial. In this study, 629 treatment-naive study participants started on DTG/ABC/3TC, and those who achieved viral suppression at 20 weeks, were then randomly assigned to continue with that regimen or to switch to long-acting CAB/RPV. Participants in the switch group began with a 30-day lead-in regimen of daily oral cabotegravir 30 mg plus rilpivirine 900 mg and then switched to monthly intramuscular injections.

In the current study, the investigators reported on the extension switch population. At week 100 of the study, patients initially assigned to DTG/ABC/3TC could opt to switch to intramuscular CAB/RPV either directly (111 patients) or with 1 month of oral CAB/RPV (121 patients).

At 24 weeks following the switch (study week 124), only one patient in each study arm had HIV-1 RNA of 50 copies/mL or greater, and as noted before 99% of patients in the direct-to-injection arm had maintained virologic suppression, as did 93% of patients in the oral lead-in group. One patient in the direct-to-injection arm had a confirmed virologic failure at week 112.

There was one grade 4 drug-related adverse event in the direct-to-injection group, a case of mixed cellularity Hodgkin lymphoma. Severe (grade 3) adverse events occurred in one patient in the direct arm, and five in the oral lead-in group.

Patients generally tolerated the long-acting injections well. Injection site reactions were the most common adverse events reported; most were mild or moderate in severity, the investigators reported.

Long-acting CAB/RPV is an investigational formulation. Last December, the US Food and Drug Administration denied approval to the formulation based on manufacturing and chemistry concerns, according to a company press release.

HIV Glasgow 2020 Virtual Conference: Abstract O414. October 5-8, 2020.

For more news, follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Source Article

Is it safe to travel for the holidays in 2020 during the pandemic?

(CNN) — The end of the year is sneaking up, and people are weighing travel plans to join friends and family for the holidays — all against the backdrop of a deadly pandemic.

Gathering with others — probably the most universal holiday tradition — has never required so much meticulous forethought.

Should you travel for the holidays in 2020? What precautions will make it safer? Who will be there and how careful have they been?

CNN spoke with medical experts on how to reduce the risks around holiday travel and when you really should skip it altogether.

Should you travel for the holidays this year?

“Probably not, if you are anxious or vulnerable,” says Dr. Richard Dawood, a travel medicine specialist and director at Fleet Street Clinic in London.

But traveling is fine if you’re willing to be cautious, follow the rules and adapt easily to changes of plan, he said.

There's a lot more to consider when planning holiday travel in 2020.

There’s a lot more to consider when planning holiday travel in 2020.

Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

“I think the threshold for travel at this time should still be higher than before the pandemic,” says Dr. Henry Wu, director of Emory TravelWell Center and associate professor of infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

“If you do choose to travel, try to keep gatherings small and take precautions,” such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene, Wu said.

Who should skip it?

“Are you older, are you frail, do you have chronic underlying illnesses?” are the questions to ask, says Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

People who are considering meeting up with vulnerable relatives or friends should really weigh the implications of introducing illness to them, Wu said.

“There are well-documented Covid-19 clusters associated with family gatherings, including ones that resulted in deaths,” he said.

Driving is not without risks,  but your interactions with others can be more easily controlled than with air travel.

Driving is not without risks, but your interactions with others can be more easily controlled than with air travel.

Jason Connolly/AFP/Getty Images

Are some locations safer than others?

Gatherings are likely safer in areas around the world where infections remain low, although the standard precautions still apply.

For example, it may be possible to have a “relatively normal” Thanksgiving gathering in parts of the United States where infections are very low, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“But in other areas of the country … you’d better hold off and maybe just have immediate family,” Fauci told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. As always, wear masks and keep gatherings small to reduce the risk of infection.

“I’d like to say that everything is going to be great by Thanksgiving, but honestly … I’m not so sure it is,” he said.

Does testing provide protection?

Testing can help catch coronavirus infections before travel, Wu said,”but testing is not foolproof.”

“It can be falsely negative, or just miss infections you are still incubating,” he said. “You could certainly also get infected during travel

Is it safe for President Trump to return to the campaign trail?

President Trump appears eager to get back out on the campaign trail a little over a week after he was taken to the hospital for COVID-19. He told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Thursday night that he wanted to hold a rally in Florida Saturday, although he is currently expected to remain at the White House through the weekend before resuming travel next week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with COVID-19 remain contagious for 10 to 20 days after their onset of symptoms, depending on the severity of the case. The president’s personal physician, Dr. Sean Conley wrote in a White House memo, released hours before Mr. Trump’s own announcement, that Saturday will be 10 days since Mr. Trump’s diagnosis, “and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President’s safe return to public engagements at that time.”

The White House has said that the president began experiencing symptoms on Thursday, October 1, and tested positive that night. The next day, he was flown to Walter Reed Medical Center where he received a combination of treatments. He returned to the White House Monday evening.

The CDC says a person with COVID can safely end isolation if at least 10 days have passed since their first symptoms, plus their fever has been gone for at least 24 hours and other symptoms are improving. It adds they can end isolation sooner if they receive “two negative tests results in a row, from tests done at least 24 hours apart.” 

Mr. Trump told Hannity that he would be tested for the first time since his diagnosis on Friday. “What we’re doing is probably the test will be tomorrow, the actual test, because there’s no reason to test all the time,” he said in the Thursday interview. He said in a separate interview on Fox News Thursday that he thinks he’s “better,” adding, “to a point where I’d love to do a rally tonight.”

“They are going to be testing him to determine the trajectory and whether he gets to the point where he’s not infected,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease official, told CBS News in an interview Friday. “I can guarantee you that they will be testing him before they let him go out.”

But physician and Rutgers medical professor Dr. Bob Lahita says that if Mr. Trump were his patient, he would still be in isolation on Saturday. 

“He’s talking about getting in front of thousands and thousands of people, and making a speech without a mask,” Lahita said on CBSN Friday. “This is an extraordinary display of behavior that’s very unusual.”

President Trump’s treatment plan

The medications used in the president’s treatment plan are suggestive of a severe COVID-19 infection, but could also be attributed to his multiple risk factors and high profile as president of the United States. Mr. Trump was given supplemental oxygen; Remdesivir, an antiviral drug manufactured by Gilead; dexamethasone,

Is six feet really a safe distance? Experts answer questions

CLOSE

This is how often you should wash your cloth face mask.

USA TODAY

Medical researchers are constantly learning new information about the coronavirus, leading to improved treatments and practices. At the same time, many questions remain unanswered, such as whether those who get infected develop immunity and, if so, for how long.

More concerning for public health experts is the abundance of misinformation about COVID-19, fueled in part by what they say are mixed messages from the federal government. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially recognized airborne transmission of the virus, after briefly acknowledging in September what the scientific community had been arguing for months, then taking down the guidance from its website days later.

Misconceptions about the potential severity of a disease that often doesn’t manifest any symptoms and the belief that it only threatens old, infirm folks are among the notions medical professionals want to dispel.

USA TODAY spoke to some of them seeking to clarify some common doubts:

Is six feet really a safe distance?: That’s more a rule of thumb than a hard-and-fast instruction. Much the determination depends on the level of ventilation and whether people are wearing masks. Six feet apart from others is generally safe outside, but not always inside.

“Under certain conditions, particularly indoors and in areas with poor airflow around un-masked people infected with COVID-19, the virus can be transmitted via an airborne route via so-called aerosols (very fine particles suspended in air),’’ said Dr. Benjamin Singer, pulmonary and critical care specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. “These particles can hang in the air and transmit over distances greater than six feet.’’

Mixed reaction: Americans have ‘conflicting’ feelings about President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis

What type of masks should the general public use?: Surgical masks, which are inexpensive and readily available, and cloth masks made out of thick cotton are effective at limiting the virus’ spread. They provide some protection for the wearers but more for those around them. Neck gaiters and masks made of stretchy fabric are not deemed as effective at preventing spread of infectious droplets.

Is indoor dining safe?: Experts still consider it risky, despite measures such as limiting the number of diners and keeping them distanced.

“One of the biggest risks with indoor dining is everyone has their masks off, and if the ventilation isn’t great, you can get sick,’’ said Dr. Eric Cioe-Peña, director of Global Health at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York, and an emergency room physician, adding that he would eat at restaurant outdoors but not indoors.

Does sanitizing door handles and high-touch surfaces make a difference?: Not much. Cioe-Peña calls it “mostly theater,’’ pointing out there are limited circumstances under which people can get infected from those surfaces.

Said Singer: “Available data do not point toward surfaces as major transmitters of infection, although routine sanitation of high-touch surfaces still makes common sense.’’

Can I get together safely with family and friends?: Yes, but preferably outdoors, in

Trump’s Physician Says He Is ‘Safe’ to Begin ‘Public Engagements’ on Saturday

The president is saying that he feels “great.” He is saying that the heavy steroid he is on is “not a heavy steroid.” He is saying lucid things on the White House lawn, like: “We’re taking care of our seniors, you’re not vulnerable, but they like to say ‘the vulnerable,’ but you’re the least vulnerable, but for this one thing you are vulnerable.”



a man standing in front of a cloudy blue sky: Getty Images


© Getty Images
Getty Images

On Thursday night, President Trump’s physician agreed with the gist of his recent comments on his own health. In a memo, Dr. Sean Conley stated that “based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President’s safe return to public engagements by Saturday,” which will have been 10 days since his positive coronavirus test was announced.

A bounty of questions remain. On Thursday, in the same interview in which he told Fox Business Network that the parents of soldiers killed in action may have given him COVID-19, he said that he would be taking dexamethasone for a “little bit longer.” How will Trump feel once he’s off a steroid that is known for giving patients boosts of energy and bouts of euphoria? Will Americans without the benefit of his taxpayer-subsidized health-care gain access to Regeneron, a drug Trump has called a “cure” — and a drug that was developed using tests on fetal tissue derived from abortion, a process that the Trump administration suspended federal funding for in June 2019. Will the White House actually take its pandemic precautions seriously now that around three dozen patients have been infected during its outbreak? Most importantly, will Trump be testing negatively by the weekend? Dr. Conley’s letter notably does not address whether or not the president is still testing positive. Judging from the administration’s opacity during the crisis so far, most of these questions will remain unanswered.

Loading...

Load Error

As Trump waits to break his entirely porous quarantine, he is keeping busy.

On Thursday, he spent an hour on the phone with Fox Business and is expected to call into Hannity at 9 p.m. On Friday, the president — having cleared his workload, apparently — will guest-host Rush Limbaugh’s three-hour radio show.

Continue Reading

Source Article

A ‘die-hard’ ‘SNL’ fan who attended the season premiere said it felt safe and ‘likened it to the first episode after 9/11’



a group of people posing for the camera: Courtney Malenius, left, and her neighbors attended the "SNL" season 46 premiere on Saturday. Courtney Malenius


© Courtney Malenius
Courtney Malenius, left, and her neighbors attended the “SNL” season 46 premiere on Saturday. Courtney Malenius

  • Courtney Malenius, of Brooklyn, New York, and seven of her neighbors attended the season 46 premiere of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” last weekend.
  • The group had to self-administer rapid COVID-19 tests, remain separated in pods, and wear masks.
  • One public-health expert told Insider he would’ve attended the show given the safety precautions, while another said she wouldn’t feel comfortable being inside for that long, even with masks and pods.
  • Following coronavirus guidelines that say TV programs can have live audiences consisting of employees, cast, and crew only, Malenius and her friends each got $150 for attending the taping.
  • “I didn’t think we were being sneaky. Whether or not the show was, I don’t know,” Malenius said about the money.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Courtney Malenius and seven of her neighbors piled into a couple of Uber XLs on Saturday to take the half-hour drive from downtown Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic that’s shut down much of New York since March, the eight Brooklyn, New York residents decided to try to establish a sense of normality by attending the season 46 premiere of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

Once the epicenter of the pandemic — where more than 23,800 residents have died from the virus — New York has taken a conservative approach to reopening businesses, even as the number of active cases in the city remains low. Broadway, for example, is still shuttered.

Malenius has been cautious too.

“There was just some trepidation about getting to the city,” the 38-year-old director of admissions at New York University’s film school and self-proclaimed “die-hard ‘SNL’ fan,” told Insider. “We decided that we would spend a little extra money and take a few Ubers together.”

Days before, Malenius had applied for tickets through a casting and fan-engagement agency called 1iota. The “SNL” webpage, which has since been taken down, had slots for groups of seven, eight, or nine people.

“First, I had to stop and think, ‘Well, who am I close with that would feel comfortable in a close environment setting?'” she said.

Malenius texted seven neighbors in her building — people she met through play dates for their dogs — to form an eight-person pod.

“We’d become even closer during quarantine because in the beginning we were doing our essential shopping trips together, sharing PPE, and other fun essential goods,” she added.

The admissions director received an email on Friday confirming they’d been chosen to attend the live taping inside Studio 8H, where former “SNL” cast member Chris Rock served as guest host and Megan Thee Stallion performed.

The email contained forms that the group had to sign, indicating that they didn’t knowingly have COVID-19, hadn’t been around anyone who tested positive, and didn’t have any tell-tale symptoms of the coronavirus.



a group of people posing for the camera: Courtney Malenius


© Courtney Malenius
Courtney Malenius

The newly formed pod was required to self-administer a rapid COVID-19 test on

China’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine appears safe

Oct 7 (Reuters) – A Chinese experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Institute of Medical Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences was shown to be safe in an early stage clinical trial, researchers said.

In a Phase 1 trial of 191 healthy participants aged between 18 and 59, vaccination with the group’s experimental shot showed no severe adverse reactions, its researchers said on Tuesday in a paper https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.27.20189548v1 posted on medRxiv preprint server ahead of peer review.

The most common adverse reactions reported by the trial participants were mild pain, slight fatigue and redness, itching and swelling at the injection site.

The candidate also induced immune response.

“All the data obtained in this trial support the safety and immunogenicity of this inactivated vaccine and are encouraging with regard to further studies of its efficacy in the future,” the paper said.

China has inoculated hundreds of thousands of essential workers and other groups considered at high risk with other vaccines, even as clinical trials had not been fully completed, raising safety concerns among experts.

China has at least four experimental vaccines in the final stage of clinical trials. (Reporting by Miyoung Kim Editing by Robert Birsel)

Continue Reading

Source Article

China’s Experimental COVID-19 Vaccine Appears Safe: Study | World News

(Reuters) – A Chinese experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Institute of Medical Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences was shown to be safe in an early stage clinical trial, researchers said.

In a Phase 1 trial of 191 healthy participants aged between 18 and 59, vaccination with the group’s experimental shot showed no severe adverse reactions, its researchers said on Tuesday in a paper https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.27.20189548v1 posted on medRxiv preprint server ahead of peer review.

The most common adverse reactions reported by the trial participants were mild pain, slight fatigue and redness, itching and swelling at the injection site.

The candidate also induced immune response.

“All the data obtained in this trial support the safety and immunogenicity of this inactivated vaccine and are encouraging with regard to further studies of its efficacy in the future,” the paper said.

China has inoculated hundreds of thousands of essential workers and other groups considered at high risk with other vaccines, even as clinical trials had not been fully completed, raising safety concerns among experts.

China has at least four experimental vaccines in the final stage of clinical trials.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

Source Article